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IPFS News Link • Criminal Justice System

Vax or Jail? The Dilemma Facing Some Americans

• https://fee.org by Hannah Cox

Brandon Rutherford was recently presented with a dilemma in an Ohio courtroom: get vaccinated or face incarceration.

The 21-year-old was sentenced to two years probation for fentanyl possession by Judge Christopher Wagner of Hamilton County, Ohio on August 4, but his sentence came with a twist: he was ordered to get a COVID vaccine as a condition of his probation.

Should Rutherford fail to comply, he could be sent to jail for up to 18 months.

"I'm just a judge, not a doctor, but I think the vaccine's a lot safer than fentanyl, which is what you had in your pocket," Wagner told Rutherford.

Wagner gave Rutherford 60 days to get vaxxed and said, "You're going to maintain employment. You're not going to be around a firearm. I'm going to order you, within the next two months, to get a vaccine and show that to the probation office."

The judge only knew Rutherford's vaccination status in the first place because he questioned him when he arrived in court wearing a mask—a rule Wagner put in place for any unvaccinated people in his courtroom.


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